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Harmonise inter-religious relations for better understanding

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The time has come for everyone today to come together to introduce religious values in their proper perspective, says H C Wong.

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Religious principles are created for the entire humankind. If any particular segment of humanity does not follow the great virtues taught by religions such as kindness, patience, tolerance and understanding, the people would be in a difficult position to live in peace and harmony.

It has been quite natural for cunning and cruel people, political leaders and religious elders to take advantage of any kind of virtue. Many political and religious leaders of today must bear in mind that those who fight and shed blood in the name of religion do not actually follow religious principles and do not serve the cause of humanity at all. They fight for their personal gain, agenda and political powers by misusing the name of the religion.

Political and religious leaders should identify the root cause of this phenomenon and resolve their problems and conflicts in a peaceful and civilised manner. True religion never encourages any form of discrimination, threat, revenge, violence or rule over other religions. At the same time, when we practise our respective religions, racial discrimination too should not arise.

Everyone of us who professes any religion should live and work with one another, treating one another fairly and equally without any sign of discrimination. No religion encourages any form of religious and racial discrimination in the name of religion.

In today’s situation, because of the atrocities that have been committed and are still continuing in the name of religion, many have become frustrated at the mere mention of the word religion.

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Materialism, hypocrisy, fanaticism and racism masquerading as religion have caused grave injustices and misery throughout the history of humankind. Genuine religious values are rapidly declining and vanishing from the minds of people as they run in search of the occult and the mystical.

The great established religions of the world are breaking into a myriad of forms. On the other hand, political and religious leaders are going all out to ridicule and misuse religions to expand their powers.

The time has come for everyone today to come together to introduce religious values in their proper perspective – instead of arguing, quarrelling, avenging and going to war over the differences of religious teachings, ideologies and mythologies.

Religion should not be confined to only worship and prayer. People should not pay lip service to religion but should use it as a practical guide to act harmlessly in the service of others; to teach everyone to be good; and to achieve liberation, peace and real happiness.

We should also realise that each of us has three natures – the ‘animal’, the human and the sublime divine natures. The purpose of religion is to help humankind to realise their noble divine nature.

Different religions may have different beliefs, methods, practices and views regarding the beginning and the end of life as well as different interpretations of the nature of final salvation. But then, we should not bring forward such discordant issues to compare and condemn or to create conflict, confrontation, clashes, hate, and misunderstanding. Neither should be practise discrimination or try to rule over other religions.

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Many prophets, great teachers and sages have encouraged their followers to recognise the truth taught in other religions.

Truth is not the monopoly of any particular religion. Even those who do not profess any religion i.e. ‘free thinkers’ also know how to appreciate the truth. There are already more than enough of common virtues for religious leaders to introduce in theory and in practice in the name of religion so that the people may lead a righteous, peaceful and cultured way of life.

Religions or religious leaders do not need to belittle and castigate other religions or to claim that their religion is greater or more powerful than others. Religious leaders should not display a hostile attitude towards other religions; if such a phenomenon continues, people will then inadvertently view religion as encouraging humankind to be divided.

Pause, relook into ourselves, and go back to the basics!

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